A month after Keenan Santos and Rueben Fernandes were stabbed to death in a street-fight following an alleged act of eve-teasing, over 400 Mumbaiites, including the families, friends and neighbour of the two men took out a candle-light rally on Saturday evening.
A Month's Mind Mass was also held along with the candle-light procession that started from the St Blaise Church to D'mello Ground in Amboli.
Although several citizen groups have, over the last few weeks, conducted rallies and signature campaigns demanding justice for Keenan and Reuben, this is the first time the family and the friends have participated in any organised public event after the tragedy.
Keenan's father Valerian Santos said, “We have support from the authorities, but there are a few things we can't get over. That night, when the two boys were attacked by perverts, none of the people who were watching bothered to help. That night, our sons suffered; tomorrow they could be yours. I always told my sons to help a woman in distress, and I am proud of what the two boys have done.”
Reuben's father Ronnie, said, “Our sons were born for a purpose and they have achieved the purpose. They have, through their actions, made the issue of molestation a serious one.”
The candle-light vigil also doubled up as a rally against molestation and eve-teasing. The zero-tolerance campaign, which aims to make molestation a non bail-able offence, has received over 85,000 signatures.
The families also gave a Good Samaritan award to the waiter of the restaurant who was perhaps the only one who helped rush the injured to the hospital. The waiter, Mohsin Khan, has been fired from his job at the diner. As a mark of protest, the family, friends and relatives have decided to boycott the Amboli Bar and Kitchen. Keenan, Rebuen and friends had dined at the restaurant just minutes before they were killed.